Segments in this Video

American Dance Form (02:45)


James Macandrew introduces the episode and explains the recent resurgence of tap dancing into mainstream American culture. Richard Lamparski describes how tap dancing is a blend of many different ethnic cultures. Watch footage of a young boy tap dancing in 1897.

Roots of Tap Dancing (03:13)

George Washington used to attend hoofing performances at the John Street Theater— Chuck Green demonstrates the "hornpipes." The jig and the stomp and shuffle dance styles blended together in New York City. Master Juba created several tap dancing steps that are still in use today.

Minstrel Shows (03:33)

Minstrel shows were extremely popular for half a century and entertained Americans with song, dance, and comedy skits. Billy Cursands created the Virginia Essence. Ralph Brown demonstrates the old soft shoe and Green performs the "Sand Dance."

Plantation Strut (04:09)

Watch footage of people dancing "The Cake Walk," a popular dance at the turn of the century. Vaudeville became popular. View Edwin Porter's movie "Uncle Tom's Cabin."

Vaudeville (04:15)

In 1916, Toots Davis and Eddie Rector created In-The-Trenches and Over-the-Tops. Brown and Green demonstrate several popular tap steps.

Mr. Bojangles (02:52)

Bill Robinson replaced Florence Mills in "Blackbirds of 1928." Most Broadway shows now included a hoofer. Watch an excerpt of Louis Douglas performing in "No Man's Land" in 1931.

Short Dance Films (04:05)

Watch Tom Patricola and Buster West perform in a short, which was shown during the 1930s. Hollywood tappers incorporated elements of ballroom dance, ballet, and other forms of dance.

Hollywood Musicals (02:02)

Children started to want to become the great tappers of the movies: Ruby Keeler, Fred Astaire, Eleanor Powell, and Shirley Temple. Big Bands drowned out the percussion of the taps contributing to the decline of the art form.

Credits: Tap Dancing: History and Performance (00:34)

Credits: Tap Dancing: History and Performance

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Tap Dancing: History and Performance

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $129.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $194.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $129.95



This program traces the history of tap dancing, featuring a demonstration of various tap dance styles by two masters of the art, Ralph Brown and Chuck Green. Routines include single and double time steps, the cramp roll, the buck and wing, over-the-top and through-the-trenches. The program also examines the origin and development of tap dance in film clips from a 1897 Edison production and other turn of the century film records, and an excerpt from No Man's Land (1931) in which Louis Douglas dances in the style of Bill Robinson.

Length: 28 minutes

Item#: BVL124235

ISBN: 978-1-63521-796-4

Copyright date: ©1972

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video customers.